Some pet names are known as, well, pet names—Max, Spot, Fido, Fluffy. Some, however, carry a pretty heavy political significance. Several cats and dogs have dotted the United States presidency throughout the years, but five furry friends have left an ineffaceable imprint on American history. Here are the five most famous political pets of all time.
Fala, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Scottish terrier, is perhaps the most famous political dog of all time. He moved into the White House at the beginning of Roosevelt’s third term, soon becoming a regular fixture in the halls of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. He enjoyed traveling with the President, and he is depicted alongside Roosevelt in his memorial on the National Mall.
Unfortunately (and perhaps surprisingly to some readers), Checkers never made it to the White House. Still, he had an indelible impact on Presidential history. In 1952, then-Vice Presidential candidate Richard Nixon was caught up in a financial scandal. In an effort to save his candidacy, he gave a televised speech in which he spoke of his humble beginnings—and his cocker spaniel, Checkers.
Barney, pet of President George W. Bush, was a bit of a spitfire. In fact, his most famous moment came in November of 2008, when he bit a Reuters reporter. The incident was captured on film, and the reporter’s finger was quickly bandaged. The White House claimed the dog was having a bad day.
Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, arrived on the American political scene to great fanfare. A gift to then-President Barak Obama from the late Senator Edward Kennedy, Bo joined the First Family in April of 2009.
While many famous political pets happen to be dogs, there are a few great cats in the history of the United States. The most notable? Socks, the beloved black and white American Shorthair of the Clinton family. Socks’ political duties included “hosting” the White House website for kids.